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My soul shall make its boast in the Lord

At its core, praise is bragging about someone. And David, was a master at bragging on the Lord. I'm so thankful that God gave us David's Psalms as an example of how to do it.

But to be really honest, I've struggled with it. I've known God now for well over 40 years and I know that He's good. My head does, anyway. But there is one area that I've struggled with all my life. And that area is provision. On one hand, I can say that my needs have always been met. But on the other hand, I always felt like provision was hard to get, and easy to lose. That wealth was for others, but not me. That God wanted my basic needs met, (food and clothes and shelter), and if I had that, I should be content.

Now don't get me wrong--I'm thankful. But just getting by has not made me want to boast about anything, not even the Lord. And to make matters worse, I know enough about God's word to know that He has more for me than just getting by. And that has put me in a quandary. Wanting more, yet feeling deprived of it.

This past Sunday, Pastor Shane said that praise accesses wisdom. He used King Solomon as an example. In 2 Chronicles 1, we see Solomon offering 1000 burnt offerings to the Lord. That's an extravagant offering! And the very same night, God came to Solomon and asked him what he wanted. We know what he asked for. He asked for wisdom.

And I got to thinking about it. Under the New Covenant, Wisdom indwells us. Yet somehow, it still needs to be accessed. And then I got to thinking about how I had been thinking. You see, I'm a clever girl. And I know what I am supposed to think, feel and say. But I got to thinking about what I was really thinking about (and feeling). And it was a little darker stuff.

I'll spare the details, but the gist of it was this: "If only I had _______, I could _________".

Let me explain how the enemy was exploiting my thinking without my realizing it.

A sample (inner) conversation:

Me: looking at an appliance that needs replacing, thinking, "Man, we sure could use a new _______".

Enemy: (voice of negativity): "Too bad that God your Father lied to you about meeting your needs."

Me: "Yeah. Sigh."

In actuality, it was a little subtler than that. But that was the takeaway. And I hadn't realized how often this internal dialogue went on! Many times a day. No wonder I was struggling to praise God!

The conscious vs the subconscious

Let's do a quick review. The conscious mind is what we know to be true. It is also what we know we are supposed to believe. It's processed through our intellect. It is a direct reflection of what we were taught in conscious way. Which can also include how we read the Bible.

Oh, but the subconscious. Much trickier. It's what we really believe. And it got shaped through our experiences, (with emotions) plus the narrative that we attached to the experiences. For instance, as I watched my father struggle hard to provide for us, I concluded that my needs were burdensome. And that I should try to need less. No one told me that. And it may not have even been true. But it is how I felt. And it became my story. It stuck with me.

The problem with "feeling"

Of course, it's possible to feel a certain way and it not be true. God's love for us is strong, patient, unconditional and enduring. It never changes. But we may not feel loved by Him. And if you don't feel loved or accepted by God, it's going to be tough to brag on Him, right? It just stands to reason.

Similarly, It is possible to feel lack, while having no lack. Eve felt that way. Once the serpent suggested that God had held something back from her, for the first time in her life, she felt lack.

I found that with my head, I knew and believed that God is my Provider. And He is good. I know tons of scriptures on it. I've memorized and can quote many of them. But somehow, my heart was still calling the shots. And I asked myself: Could it be my attitude that is holding me back? That I was "creating" situations that I didn't want, but had actually believed for?


Then I remembered how Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. He was tempted with words. Same as me. But He didn't agree with them. He didn't comply with the words. He resisted...with words. He said, "It is written..."

In a conscious moment, I could speak the truth of God's word and believe it. But the enemy was catching me in my weakness, when my guard was down. He'd whisper to me through my damaged emotions. In those moments, I was agreeing with the voice that accused God. If you asked me if I would reject God out rightly, I'd be like Peter, "Lord, I would never deny You!" But in a moment of self-pity, I could say, "yeah, what a shame that God hasn't come through."

So getting back to praise. We are commanded to praise.

It gives access to the wisdom of God. Why? Because it brings truth to the situation.

Wisdom can't flow through the lens of hurt, self-pity, rejection and fear. Those things hinder and keep us from experiencing what is blessedly true for us. They are roadblocks that praise can remove, because praise is speaking the truth about God. Self-pity, rejection and fear can't hold up against the truth.

It's become a cliché , "Don't talk to God about your problems; talk to your problems about God." But it's a good cliché. Jesus didn't pray to God when the devil was tempting him. He resisted the devil by telling the truth about God.

I want my praise, my bragging on God, to be authentic. And it is. I only have to tell the truth and never agree with a lie again. God loves me! He enjoys prospering me! His way of providing is overflow! He is faithful! He cannot lie! He loves to bless! He multiplies my seed!

So if you find that you are avoiding God, or you're having trouble praising Him, try digging a little deeper to see where you've believed a lie.


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